How to actually do all of this?

Let us assume that you have understood how to manage the “shutter speed” as well as the “aperture size” to get the desired effect. How do you actually go about doing this on your camera? Let us take them one at a time.

Shutter speed

You will have to go though your camera’s manual and try to figure out  where the shutter speed settings of your camera are. Now, shutter speed is generally represented by how much time the shutter is open.

The shutter could be open for 1 second. Half (½) of a second. Quarter (¼) of  a second. This time for which a shutter is open is called as shutter speed. A high-end camera will have many shutter speed options. A low end camera will have a few.

Here are all the possible shutter speed options: 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, ½ of a second AND 1 second.

All the fractions represent a fraction of a second. For example: 1/1000 represents, 1/1000th of a second! So, which will be the slowest shutter speed and which will be the fastest? 1 second will be the slowest and 1/1000th of a second will be the fastest.

So if you want to have a sharpest and clearest possible image, what should your shutter speed be? The fastest. That is, 1/1000th of a second!

If you want to get your image to blur intentionally, you will need the slowest shutter speed. That is 1 second.

So, having understood that, you need to understand the shutter speed convention. Shutter speed as generally represented like this:

  • 1/2th of a second is represented as 2  
  • 1/4th of a second is represented by 4
  • 1/30th of a second is represented by 30

So basically if the number is higher…that means the shutter speed is lower! So, you want a high number for the shutter speed if you want sharp images. You want a low number for shutter speed if you want blurred images.

To actually set the shutter speed of your camera and to know how many shutter speeds your camera supports…you need to see your camera's manual.


Aperture Size

Just as the shutter speed has a convention. The aperture size also has a convention. The convention for aperture size is called as an “f-stop” convention. The different possible values for the aperture size are: f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32, f/45. Depending on how elaborate your camera is, you may or may not have any f-stop settings to play with.

Here also, as the number goes on increasing (from 1 to 1.4 to 2 to 2.8 etc…) the aperture size goes on decreasing since this too is a fraction.

So, if you want a smallest aperture, what should your number be? f/45! If you want a the biggest aperture, what should your f-stop number be? f/1!

Now the question is, what value should you use for what photo? Well, you will figure that out with experience. To get a hang of things, check this virtual camera out! Play with the settings and see the different kind of images you get!

If you just checked your camera manual and found that your camera is not very elaborate and does NOT allow you to set shutter speeds etc...don't worry! Check the next section...

Next - But my camera does not have these options!! >>

<< Previous - Depth of field (DOF) !!

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Table Of Contents

  1. How to take great photos? - Introduction
  2. Two major "funds" of photography!
  3. The concept of your photo...
  4. Depth of field (DOF)!!
  5. How to actually do all this? 
  6. But my camera does not have all these options!!
  7. Shutter speed, ISO and dim lighting...
  8. The magic of the "+"
  9. Some final tips...